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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tickets! Get Your Tickets!

I already did a post on adapting Disney's FastPass to the pharmacy for prioritization during normal hours. After navigating the Rings of Hell known as Ticketmaster to procure my TOOL tickets the other week, I had a new thought: Preferred line treatment.

We can sell passes to be the first in line on your narcotic due date. They will be VIP passes good for one date at a time. We can also hold a lottery to distribute a limited number of tickets for each day. I suggest an auction for the most prized day, Friday! Instead of being told to come back the next day after 10am or 11am, we will guarantee your prescription will be ready by 8:05 or 9:05am (5 minutes after the Rising of The Gates in your store) on the promised date. We will number the chairs in the waiting room 1-5 and you will claim your prized seat that morning. Busier stores may adapt this idea to accommodate the number of chairs in their waiting area, or greediness of their staff.

CP: Your prescription cannot be filled until next Tuesday.
Pt: What time will it be ready?
CP: Since we do not open until 8am, we need everyone to give us until 10am to finish the morning's work that awaits us upon entry to the Hallowed Halls of Hygeia.
Pt: Can I not get it any quicker?
CP: Your prescription, as well as the others we promised for that day and the ones entered into our system overnight, all get the same treatment and take equally as long. Let's not forget about all of the new prescriptions people will be bringing to us they also need that morning.
Pt: Isn't there anything you can do?
CP: We did just start a new pilot program. We are selling seats in our waiting area. The first 5 patients to purchase seats will have their prescription guaranteed to be ready for pickup by 5 minutes after we open.
Pt: Go on.
CP: However, patients must remain in their seats until their names are called. If they are found to be lurking, standing, malingering, or otherwise impatiently hovering, their ticket becomes void and non-refundable and their prescription enters the general queue. Might this interest you?
Pt: Yes. How much does it cost?
CP: Each seat license is $25.00 for priority seating if purchased before closing the night before your fill is due. Any remaining seats that have not been purchased go on sale on a first-come, first-serve basis or a lottery the morning of filling. There is no discount for waiting until Filling Day.
Pt: Any other restrictions?
CP: As of right now, Fridays are the most popular days for narcotic pickups. For this reason, tickets will be auctioned off every Wednesday at 9pm.

This will check many of corporate's boxes: great customer service and guaranteed repeat business along with a little extra cash flow.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Are We Speaking The Same Language?

CP: Good Day Madam I'm Adam.
What The What: You're a palindrome? 
CP: Something like that. 
WTW: Why are you calling me? 
CP: We processed your refill and the insurance will not pay for it. 
WTW: I called my insurance last week and they told me they do pay for it. 
CP: As of today, they do not. 
WTW: Yes they do. 
CP: It needs a prior authorization. 
WTW: No it doesn't. I called them. 
CP: They may pay for it AFTER the prescriber submits the prior auth. 
WTW: No. I called them and they told me it's covered. You must be doing something wrong. 
CP: Of course. I shall bear the blame for this. If I could take on any more burden I'll need 80's shoulder pads under my clothes. Here's how the "you must be doing something wrong" part of your argument crumbles: I enter your insurance information. I enter your prescription information. I hit "enter" on my keyboard. I wait. Your insurance responds with "paid" or "denied". The only thing I could be "doing wrong" is hitting "enter" incorrectly. Unless...
WTW: Unless what? 
CP: Nah. It couldn't be that. 
WTW: Be what? 
CP: The only thing that could be wrong would be if you provided me with incorrect information. But that wouldn't happen, would it? 
WTW: No! I called my insurance before I brought you that prescription. 
CP: Okay. Just for phun, I have to ask. Whom? 
WTW: What? 
CP: Whom did you call? 
WTW: My new insurance. 
CP: What new insurance? 
WTW: The one that starts the first of next month. 
CP: You do realise this is March, right? 
WTW: Yes. 
CP: And that April is still 2 weeks away? 
WTW: Yes. 
CP: And the new insurance starts in April...in 2 weeks...which is not today? 
WTW: Yes. 
CP: So when I explained to you it wasn't working and you told me I must be "doing something wrong", you know now that it was YOU "doing something wrong"? I cannot process prescriptions for phuture dates if the insurance is not in effect. 
WTW: Oh. I didn't think about that. 
CP: Obviously. See you next month. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

No. No It Is Not

People will believe what they want to believe no matter the evidence in front of them or what learned professionals may tell them.
[The Earth is round. (Why is this even a thing?)]

CP: How may I help you today? 
Ordinary Citizen Raging And Pestering: I have a question about this product. 
CP: Go for it. I shall have an answer for you. 
OCRAP: Is this the same as Rexall? 
CP: Say again? 
OCRAP: Is this the same as Rexall? 
CP: Rexall? 
OCRAP: Yes. 
CP: Rexall is a pharmacy. Not a product. 
OCRAP: Well my wife has a bottle of Rexall and wants this to replace it. 
CP: Rexall is a pharmacy. It's also a line of products. They make all kinds of items. 
OCRAP: So is this the same thing as Rexall? 
CP: As Rexall what? That's like going to CVS and asking simply for "Equate".
OCRAP: I don't know. She has a bottle that says "Rexall" on it. I just want to know is this the same thing?
CP: Okay. Sorry for my less-than-valiant attempt at answering your question. Please allow me one last go. Hold the bottle closer to me. Closer ... Closer ... Right there. <I touch the bottle> Now, close your eyes. Listen to the mellifluous tone of my voice speaking these words. Picture the bottle your wife has. Focus on it. Are you focusing?
OCRAP: Yes.
CP: Where is it?
OCRAP: On her dresser.
CP: Focus harder. Concentrate. See only the bottle. Wait. I got it. I see it.
OCRAP: You do?
CP: Yes. This is most definitely the same thing as Rexall.
OCRAP: How'd you do that?
CP: Part of my skill set as a pharmacist.
OCRAP: You are amazing!
CP: I know.
OCRAP: Thank you so much.
CP: No worries. It's what I do. Before you go?
OCRAP: Yes?
CP: She needs a refill on her KY too. Your vision was unfocused at the beginning and I saw it there too.
OCRAP: She's not supposed to be home. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Help Equals Assistance ...

... It Is Not The Same As Me Doing Everything For You.

(A real conversation from a real pharmacy.)

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Assistance as: noun - "the action of helping someone by sharing work".

Every day we bemoan the issue of patients no longer helping themselves. My interest in their health is directly proportionate to the amount of interest they have in it.

CP: How may I help you today?
Where's My Mommy: I called in for my refill?
CP: That's a question.
WMM: I need to pick it up?
CP: Still a question. But let's roll with it. What's the name?
WMM: My name?
CP: You just can't help yourself, can you? Yes. Your name. If the prescription is for you.
WMM: WMM.
CP: Finally, a statement! I do not have anything here ready for pickup.
WMM: Um. I called it in the other day.
CP: Allow me to research. I see here that you did phone on Thursday last at which time we told you there were no refills. We faxed and rang the prescriber that day, Monday, and Wednesday. So far she has not responded to our requests for refills. As of this morning we deleted the requests after leaving you a message that you should attempt to call her yourself.
WMM: What should I do now?
CP: Perrrrrrrrhaps you should call her yourself.
WMM: Would it help if you sent it again?
CP: Back to questions again. No. It would not help. We contact the office every other day for a total of 3 attempts. If those are unsuccessful, we put the ball back in your court. After a week of trying to reach her ourselves, I can say that no, it would not be helpful for us to contact them. It would, however, help if you called them.
WMM: Okay. Can you resend it?
CP: I can. I won't, but I can. Someone needs a swift kick out of the nest.
WMM: Oh. Ok.
CP: You fly back to school now little Starling. Fly, fly, fly. Fly, fly, fly.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Time ...

... is on my side.
... is of the essence.
... flies when you're having fun.
... and tide wait for no man.
... has come today.

Don't waste mine and I won't waste yours.

The time, 09:53.
The place, Pharmacy.
The day, hard and cold like nipples on Hoth.

CP: Morning!
Irascible Dame Getting All Flustered: What's good about it?
CP: Nothing. I was simply stating it was morning. Note I did not preface my morning with good. Go back and reread it.
IDGAF: Whatever. I need to call in a refill.
CP: Certainly. Refills keep us in business. Gotta love the repeat business they provide. And looking forward to follow up encounters with those who fill them.
IDGAF: I need it today. I tried the machine but it told me it wouldn't be ready until tomorrow.
CP: I can do that today for you. When would you like to come in for it?
IDGAF: It doesn't matter to me. As long as it's today.
CP: No problem-o. It shall be done today. Give me until 12 noon and it will be ready for you.
IDGAF: Really? That long?
CP: First, you did tell me "it doesn't matter" what time. Second, noon works for me since it's only 2 hours away and I have lots of other prescriptions that are waiting and my next tech comes in at 11. So, in short, yes, really.
IDGAF: I was coming down to buy stuff for lunch shortly.
CP: Okay. I'll play along. Why didn't you just say "I'll be at the store in 30 minutes for some shopping. Would it be possible to have it ready by then?" to which I would have replied "most likely, as long as you pick this up after your basket is full and not as soon as you enter the building". Besides, I eat lunch at 3pm so 12 noon seems like a logical time for me to think about food.
IDGAF: Whatever.
CP: Let's try this again. When would you like to come for your prescription?
IDGAF: Dunno.
CP: Really? I'll make it easy for you. See you after 10:29.
IDGAF: Fine.
CP: Yes, I ... Forgot It's Never Enough

Thursday, March 23, 2017

It's Magic ...

... or Just Doin' my Job, Ma'am.

Remember playing -peek-a-boo with a baby? 
Remember how the baby is all excited that you managed to disappear behind your hands, then magically reappear? 
Babies are fascinated by your magical skills. 
They giggle. They laugh. They love you. 

I was reminded of this last week when a prescriber called me to question a dose she prescribed for her pediatric patient. (Let's ignore the fact that she waited until 6 hours after sending the e-script to call, by which time the patient's mom already picked up and administered a dose.)

CP: Thank you for calling CP's pharmacy where you currently have the privilege of speaking to the infamous, self-deprecating CP. How may I help you? 
Following Through on Writing: I was calling to double-check the dosing on a prescription I sent over for Little Tyke earlier. 
CP: I recall. Is that the one for Amoxicillin 250mg/5ml? 
FTW: It is. I usually calculate my own doses but I let the computer calculate it for me and I didn't double-check. It doesn't round and I entered the patient's weight and just went with what it said. It seems a little high now that I think about it. 
CP: I remember this one. Mom already came and got it and we talked to her about it. 
FTW: Really? 
CP: Yes, but do not worry. We calculated the dose several times. We have students on rotation and one of the doses I make them memorise is the max of Amoxicillin. This worked out well because I had them do the calculation. 
FTW: But I didn't put the weight on the prescription. 
CP: I know. We don't need it. In any equation, as long as you have 2 of the 3 numbers, you can solve for the 3rd. We knew the max dose per day and we knew the dose you prescribed. Using these numbers we could find the patient's weight. We put a note on the patient's prescription at pickup. We asked mom to verify that LT weighed at least 70lbs and was being treated for strep. 
FTW: How'd you do that? That's amazing. LT was diagnosed with strep and weighs 73 lbs. Really? You did all that? 
CP: It's what we do here. The dose appeared high so we double-checked it. It was a great exercise for my students and for me. As Bon Jovi sang, "It's my license". 
FTW: "It's my life"? 
CP: You get me! Anyway, I know not all 12 year olds weigh the same. I make my students memorise other max doses as well so they can quickly calculate doses on the most commonly prescribed or recommended products for parents and their children. (Benadryl, Ibuprofen, and Acetaminophen especially.) Besides, if the dose seems off or if mom didn't answer the questions at pickup correctly, we would certainly have called you before it left the pharmacy. 
FTW: I'm so impressed! I never knew you guys did that. Thank you so much for looking out for us and our patients. 
CP: We all have the same goals in mind. You and I share the same patients and we're both busy. We are the last line of defence from a bad day. I know medications. I know doses. I know how to quickly calculate doses in my head. It's what I do. 

#WhyYouLoveYourPharmacist

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

An Insurance Paradox

Herr S: I wish to obtain my prescription.
CP: Certainly. You may pay the cash price or you may present us with insurance.
HS: I have insurance.
CP: Wunderbar! Please present it.
HS: You have it on file.
CP: I do not.
HS: You most certainly do. I come here all the time.
CP: I do not care where you come, only where you purchase prescriptions.
HS: I come here for prescriptions.
CP: We only accept cash or insurance, not come.
HS: There's something wrong with you.
CP: Yes, but you keep coming back...
HS: Anyway my insurance is, has been, and always will be, on file.
CP: Right. Unless it changes.
HS: Nothing has changed.
CP: Are you sure?
HS: Absolutely.
CP: Care to wager on it?
HS: Well maybe the group number changed.
CP: Maybe?
HS: Yes. Maybe. A little.
CP: Is it "yes" or "maybe"? It can't be both. You can't be "a little pregnant" or "maybe dead".
HS: Try this.  <presents card info>
CP: Wow. That worked.
HS: I preferred knowing and not knowing.
CP: Is that like going and not going?
HS: Something like that.
CP: Have a lovely day, Mr. Schrodinger. Come again.

Monday, March 20, 2017

You Know Nothing!

I walked into work the other day to witness a lady holding court with 2 of her friends. She was, how do I put it, "educating" her friends about OTC allergy medications.

Lady: That Cetirizine you're holding? It's like $0.98 at the dollar store down the street. The one they sell is better than this one. I've taken all of these OTC ones and the only ones that work are Xyzal and Cetirizine. (Never mind that Xyzal didn't arrive on store shelves yet.)

Friend Unbeliever: But this is once a day. I think the Cetirizine works better. What's the difference in them?

Lady: This one here, in your hand, has HCL in it. See, mine didn't. It's that extra HCL that makes it more expensive. It's probably why they don't sell it at the dollar store. It doesn't matter because the HCL ones don't work. You need it without the HCL.

Friend The Second: <silently nods in agreement>

Lady: I don't know what that HCL is, but it makes it not work. You're better off going to get the other stuff from the dollar store. This is like 4 times as expensive just for that HCL.

FU: I need it now, so I 'm just going to get this one.

Lady: Okay. But it doesn't work for me.

Now imagine this conversation is taking place among a group of students. A group of medical or nursing students. Because that's what happened.
Reminds me of the day I was with a phriend in a prescriber's office and we met with a CNP who instructed us that antihistamines were for sinus congestion and Sudafed, a decongestant, was for drainage. That was the last time my phriend ever went to that office.

#ALittleEducationIsADangerousThing